High Wick Children's Unit
Highfield Lane, Tyttenhanger, St Albans, Herts AL4
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1950s - 1988

Mental (children)

Established by the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, High Wick opened in the 1950s in a large country mansion in Tyttenhanger, just outside St Albans, under the administration of the Mid-Herts Group Hospital Management Committee.  Run as a children's home, although it was administratively called a hospital, it was a unit for psychotic and maladjusted children aged between 4 and 14 years.  The consultant in charge from 1957 until his death in 1979 was Dr. George Stroh.

By 1955  the hospital had 22 beds.  The grounds contained a school, which all the children attended for part of each day.  Therapeutic education was provided; the children were autistic, psychotic and had behaviour disorders of varying severity.  They also had learning problems, and were often withdrawn, showing no curiosity regarding themselves and their surroundings.  Supported by Dr. Stroh, specialized teaching methods were developed by the principal, Doris Holden-Ortiz, who believed in 'milieu therapy', a supportive living environment.

In 1961 the Unit was staffed  by 10 child care workers, most of whom were resident, two night staff and usually two young voluntary workers.  In charge of the house staff were a Nursing Officer and a deputy.  

In 1974 the Hospital had 18 beds.  The school closed in 1979, and the Unit in 1988.

Present status (May 2009)

The building is now Highfield Manor, a luxury apartment block and gated community.

gates  gates
The closed gates of Highfield Manor.

Chojka M 1961 Attitudes of children in school, with special reference to High Wick, a psychiatric unit for psychotic children.  Cerebral Palsy Bulletin 3, 567-572.
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